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Saturday, December 10, 2016

For the past several weeks, former vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin has been hinting at a run for Senate in her former home state of Alaska. Now, thanks to a recent Federal Election Commission filing, we know why.

Palin’s political action committee, SarahPAC, raised just $460,536 in the first half of 2013. That number falls far short of SarahPAC’s totals for the first halves of 2011 and 2012, when the PAC raised roughly $1.2 million and $1.7 million, respectively.

In the first six months of 2013, SarahPAC spent $496,505.68, almost $36,000 more than it brought in. Although the PAC is not in debt (it reports having over $1 million in cash on hand), that represents a troubling trend for the one-time governor’s committee.

Furthermore, as Matt Berman points out at National Journal, the PAC’s spending pattern raises some serious questions. According to the FEC filing, the PAC donated just $5,000 to political candidates in 2013 — all of it going to Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO). The rest of the money went to expenses and consulting fees, including at least $11,500 a month to PAC spokesman/treasurer Timothy Crawford.

So the next time you hear Sarah Palin feigning interest in running for Alaska’s Senate seat in 2014, you won’t have to ask yourself why she would enter a race she’s almost certain to lose. Or why a self-declared “maverick” would want to join a body governed largely by seniority and a complicated system of unwritten rules. Or why a woman who knows very little about laws would want to write them. Or why an Arizona resident would run for Senate more than 3,500 miles from her home. Or why, after failing to complete four years as governor, Palin would seek a six-year term in Washington.

Simply remember that paying the consultants that she claims to hate so much, and flying around the country waving around a Big Gulp, isn’t cheap. And as Palin proved back in 2011, nothing jumpstarts fundraising efforts quite like a fake run for federal office.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

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